Nokia E71

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I got myself a new cell phone, the Nokia E71. In the process I’m putting my old but faithful Sony Ericsson T610 to retirement.

In order of importance, here are the reasons why I went with that particular phone :

1. Built-in GPS

My wife landed a new job so she had to give her GPS back to her old company. I went with Sygic McGuider Europe 2009. So far, I’m pleased with it, it’s very customizable and compares to Tomtom and is better than Mio GPS, but I guess anything is better than Mio :-)

Yesterday, as I fired up McGuider, it locked my GPS position immediately ! This is maybe Google Maps had been busy updating my location a few moments before ? Usually it’ll take from 30 seconds to 1 minute to pick up the GPS signal.

http://navigation.teleatlas.com/en/shop/hotitem/sygic-mcguider-europe-2009-sd-card-pr6648.html

2. VoIP SIP

VoIP will work over WiFi or the data network of your carrier (GPRS or 3G), as long as they don’t block SIP.

I run a small Asterisk PBX at home with friends and family connected to it. I also use a SIP provider (poivy.com) allowing me to call 35 countries for free (including US cell phones). Basically, I can call friends and family and 35 countries for free from my cell, as long as I have network coverage. Secondly, I now send SMS through the PBX for 6 cents instead of 12 cents through the carrier. Plus, Poivy will let me display any confirmed (cell or landline) phone number to the people I call.

For those wondering, I’m on BASE data network, which is EDGE and not 3G (yet). They don’t block SIP but… read on.

For some reason the Nokia SIP client is not able to register on my PBX. Well, I see the phone registered on the PBX (it somehow reports huge latencies between 500-2000 ms) but the phone acts like it’s not registered, so I can’t place calls. Instead, I have to use Fring, which acts as a proxy. I haven’t sniffed the traffic from the phone to Fring servers yet but I guess they obfuscated SIP/RTP traffic to allow VoIP on carriers blocking SIP. To be confirmed. Fring SIP client works okay but latencies can be annoying. This is still fine when calling relatives. For important calls, I’d try finding a wifi hotspot around, or using the GSM network as a last resort (this is the point of a cell phone in the first place right ? :) ).

When I’m back home, my phone will automatically register to my PBX over WiFi (this time using the Nokia client). When someone calls my PBX, I can pick up my cell and be on WiFi instead of GPRS.

http://www.fring.com http://www.poivy.com

3. SSH client

Don’t expect to only use your cell to manage your servers.. but this is definitely nice to be able to connect to your boxes from anywhere.

http://s2putty.sourceforge.net

4. Full keyboard

I don’t like touchscreen keyboards, and I can’t imagine exchanging IM’s typing on a regular phone keypad. I can be very good at typing on a computer keyboard, but I totally suck on a cell phone.

5. WiFi

I’ll always try to see if there’s a WiFi network available before using the GPRS connection, unless for mails and sensitive stuff.

6. Modem

I haven’t tried the feature yet. I can surf the internet from anywhere by connecting my Macbook to the phone using Bluetooth or USB, and using the GPRS connection.

I’ve set up my Macbook to use the phone as modem, using Bluetooth. It works perfectly. I didn’t have to use some hacked script to get it working, since my carrier only does GPRS, so it just worked out of the box.

7. VPN

A bit of a disappointment here, I just wish the phone would be able to connect to OpenSSL/OpenVPN vpns.. It only does IPsec and there’s no OpenVPN port under Symbian in the horizon. Someday I need to set up an IPsec VPN on my home server.. Ugh.

Custom applications

Other neat stuff

Problems

What I’ll buy soon

- Brodit Proclip cradle for my car Way too expensive

Edit : After a few weeks of use…

This is what I use the phone for on pretty much a daily basis (in order of importance) :

Annoyances : I’m off from 2 Nokia updates for my phone so maybe it’s fixed in the latest firmware updates.




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